I was accident-prone

February 5, 2005

There are times that I wonder if we have things slightly backwards now. I recall many visits to the emergency room, none of them associated with the hazards that people seem to worry about now.

Three stitches in my chin at age 3, obtained by running around the house in circles and stumbling into the corner of a coffee table.

(Seven?) stitches at age 6 or 7, stepping into a mudhole to prove there was no broken glass in it. Courageous and sincere, but wrong.

14 stitches in my knee at 9, standing on the top of a big bottle soaking the labels off some recycling; slipped off, and hit my knee on the busted-off spigot. Ouch.

A few more stitches in my foot at age 12 (more glass at the pond); I had to track an escaped cow a couple of mile through an orange grove a few days later, the tetanus shot in my arm hurt more than my foot.

At seventeen, eleven stitches in the back of my head, some damage to my left shoulder, and a fractured skull. Go ahead, don’t wear that bicycle helmet, I’ll just say I-told-you-so when something similar happens to you.

Nasty rope burn at 20. Back then, ibuprofen was a prescription drug, and it was a miracle (opiates never did much for me).

A couple of rounds of stitches in gradual school; don’t remember exactly when I did what, but I almost took the tip of my ring finger off sharpening a knife (still have the knife, just used it a couple of minutes ago to slice biscotti), and then I slashed my thumb thoroughly whittling ineptly. You can stop arterial bleeding with pressure, at least for those arteries.

I was stitch-free for some years, then I fell while skating, and put ten stitches in my forehead. That was scary, but the doctor in the ER helpfully told me that if you remember the “clunk” of your head hitting something, you’re probably fine. Wound care advice that nobody told me before (why, I know not): wash daily with peroxide, then a light coat of triple antibiotic, and keep it out of the sun. The scarring is vastly reduced.

Got distracted by my youngest while pruning something, and pruned my left middle knuckle. That wound care advice worked again.

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